Neo-Soul crooner Musiq Soulchild graced the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Dressed in jean shorts and a tee-shirt, Musiq appeared relaxed and ready to perform. The show, however, seemed to be more of a sound check than an actual show.
Thankfully, Musiq made the wise choice to start the show with older material his fans know and love as opposed to trying out his newer stuff. He opened his set with “Halfcrazy” from his 2002 sophomore album, Juslisen. Throughout the song, Musiq’s signature voice was a bit pitchy, which was a letdown. I’ve been privileged to see him perform live numerous times, and vocally, he’s been better.
Highlights from the concert included classic ballads “Don’t Change,” “Teach Me,” “So Beautiful”, and “I Do.” Musiq sounded better on those songs, in particular on “Teach Me” (where he has to sing a high note), than he did on his opening number.
Musiq took time out to try out some of his new material from his double album Feel The Real, released in September 2017. He performed “Simple Things” and “Start Over”. While I knew the performances were good, the majority of the audience didn’t seem to catch on to Musiq’s newer material.
As the night progressed, it was time for Musiq’s signature ballad from his debut album Aijuswanaseing. Released eighteen years ago, “Love” still sounds as fresh as it did when I first heard it as a nineteen-year-old college freshman. Musiq teased the audience. He let his band play the opening stanza for a few moments before he sang a note. When it was time to sing, Musiq took his time and delivered on his vocal talents.
Musiq closed his set out with his up-tempo hits “Just Friends” and “B.U.D.D.Y”. The venue turned into a party. When the set closed, I looked at my watch and realized that Musiq was on stage for less than an hour. After eighteen years in the music industry and eight albums, Musiq has enough material for a ninety -minute show. He omitted quite a few of his hit songs. He did not perform any songs from his sixth album, MusiqInTheMagiq.
While Musiq is still vocally talented, his fans and the R&B music genre deserved better than the show he gave.
Final Grade: C+